One of the marks of the Bible being the inspired word of God is the fact that if man could have written the Bible, he wouldn’t have written it. Of course, if man would have written the Bible, there are enough facts, prophesies, etc. that there is no way man could have written the Bible. On the subject that if man could have, he wouldn’t have written it, I like to note the lack of commentary on narratives. How many times have you read something in the Bible and wanted to say, “What were you thinking?” Case in point is Samson blessed by God in the defeating 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey as he defended his people, and then turning in complaint that God was going to let him die of thirst.
“Come on Samson, what are you thinking?”
Judges 15:14–20 (ESV) — 14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. 15 And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men. 16 And Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey have I struck down a thousand men.” 17 As soon as he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone out of his hand. And that place was called Ramath-lehi. 18 And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the Lord and said, “You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 And God split open the hollow place that is at Lehi, and water came out from it. And when he drank, his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore, the name of it was called En-hakkore; it is at Lehi to this day. 20 And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.
Of course, God took care of Samson in providing water for him, just like He cares for us when we think all hope is gone. But have you ever doubted or allowed your doubts to mount into complaint? We all have, even though the Scriptures are full of examples of God’s hand of deliverance. Here’s one:
Romans 8:31–32 (ESV) — 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
What are we thinking? If God has gone to all the trouble to save us from our sin by not sparing the very best – His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, then what makes us think He will leave us or forsake us when troubles come? If we reason things out, then we have nowhere to doubt or complain.
Nevertheless, God is so merciful that He has inspired the writers of His word to include times of doubt and even complaints of His people, so we can connect the realities of our lives with the realness of people in the Bible and see the gracious way God dealt with their shortcomings – even their doubts and complaints.
Peter, what were you thinking?
Matthew 14:22–33 (ESV) — 22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So, Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
How merciful and kind Jesus is to Peter when he bravely takes a step on the water but begins to sink and cries for help. Was there a reason to doubt? Not when he focused on Jesus who said, “Come.” Yet Jesus came to his rescue and reached out and delivered him from drowning.
What are you thinking today? Is there really a reason to doubt and complain? Not when you consider all the ways God has delivered you in the past and His promises to care for you. Nevertheless, God is merciful and kind enough to not turn us away when we call for help but come to our rescue time after time.
As you look at situations in the Bible and ask, “What were you thinking?” perhaps it would be good to look at your life and ask yourself the same question, “What are you thinking? Is there really a cause to doubt and complain?”